Boys are victims too? Sexual dating violence and injury among high-risk youth.Prev Med. 2017 Aug; 101:28-33.PM
Prior research with youth exposed to violence suggests that, in this high-risk population, boys may be victims of sexual teen dating violence (TDV) and injury as frequently as girls. We sought to replicate these findings with a demographically similar sample and to determine whether the findings could be attributed the high-risk nature of the sample by assessing the impact of violence exposure on sex differences.
A cross-sectional sample of 2577 youth (ages 11-18, M=15.4, SD=1.9, 52% female, 25% Caucasian) collected in 2004 from a high-risk community reported on history of dating and exposure to multiple forms of violence. We conducted moderation analyses to test whether polyvictimization (PV) and age moderated the potential sex differences in perpetration and victimization of sexual TDV and injury.
No significant sex differences in victimization were observed regardless of degree of PV. Boys reported more frequent sexual TDV and injury perpetration relative to girls, but only for youth reporting high degree of PV. There were no sex differences in perpetration among low PV youth.
These findings suggest boys from high-risk communities may disproportionately perpetrate severe acts of TDV but at this early age they are equally likely to be victimized. To interrupt the cycle of violence victimization and perpetration, comprehensive violence prevention interventions targeting high-risk youth should be implemented at schools, in homes, and in the community; and they should recognize the potential for girls and boys to be victims of even the most severe forms of TDV.